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Huddersfield Town

Ramadan Sobhi still has everything to prove after joining Huddersfield Town

The youngster made the move to the John Smith’s Stadium last week.

Martyn Cooke

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Photo: Getty Images

Last week Huddersfield Town confirmed the signing of Egyptian starlet Ramadan Sobhi after agreeing a £5.7 million deal with recently relegated Stoke City.

The 21-year-old is considered to be one of the most exciting young prospects to emerge from African football over the last decade and he is the pin-up boy of Egyptian football alongside Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.

However, Huddersfield have certainly not purchased the finished article and Sobhi has ultimately failed to live up to his reputation since arriving in the Premier League two years ago.

He signed for Stoke in the summer of 2016 from leading Egyptian side Al Ahly, then managed by former Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham manager Martin Jol, for a fee that was reportedly set to rise up to £5 million.

Sobhi had made his debut as a 16-year-old and had won two domestic titles, attracting the attention of a number of prominent clubs throughout Europe, and his arrival at the Bet365 Stadium was perceived as being something of a coup.

He was characterised as being a pacey winger who was intelligent, tricky and technically immaculate and it was assumed that his arrival would bring creativity and pace to Mark Hughes’ Stoke team.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

But, despite making 41 Premier League appearances in his two years with The Potters, Sobhi never truly fulfilled his potential or lived up to his reputation.

There were glimpses of his talent and potential, but these moments of brilliance or innovation were often few and far between. He was frustrating to watch and his decision making, particularly in the final third of teh pitch, would leave supporters scratching their heads in confusion.

Sobhi would often beat a defender or create half a yard of space but then be unwilling to release the ball either via a pass, cross or shot. He would attempt to beat the same defender multiple times before delivering the ball into the box and there was a distinct lack of any end product or consistency.

Few would criticise the 21-year-old’s work ethic or attitude, but he is certainly a long way from being the finished article.

It could be argued that this is not entirely the fault of the player. In truth Sobhi was never truly given a run of starts in the first team with the vast majority of his appearances coming from the bench.

Furthermore, two years of playing in a poor Stoke team has visibly eroded his confidence and self-belief whilst Mark Hughes and his coaching staff undoubtedly failed to maximise his potential.

The young Egyptian joined a Stoke team that was in terminal decline – it may simply be the case that he was the right player at the wrong time.

What Sobhi needs now is a manager who will put an arm around his shoulder and who will invest the time to nurture and mould him into fulfilling his potential. The potential is there, it just needs to be allowed to flourish.

David Wagner may well be that man.

(Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

The German is widely respected as being one of the most talented young coaches in Europe and is renowned for his approach to man-management and being able to maximise the performances of his players. If Sobhi is to emerge as a genuine star in English football then Wagner will be the man capable of facilitating it.

Ultimately, Sobhi had a limited impact at Stoke and never really demonstrated his talent beyond a handful of infrequent flashes. It is probably the fault of all parties involved that his time at the Bet365 Stadium was not more productive and it would appear that his departure is mutually beneficial.

It is also important to recognise that the winger is still only 21 years of age.

His career is only just beginning and yet he has already made 26 international appearances for Egypt and proven himself in domestic football. There is still plenty of time for him to develop and improve whilst you would imagine that the best is yet to come from the youngster.

However, despite the continued hype, ultimately Sobhi still has everything to prove in English football and Hudderfield supporters will be hoping that their club is the right place for the Egyptian’s talent to flourish.

Martyn is currently a PTA and Research Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In addition to his teaching role he is also undertaking a PhD in Sports History that is exploring the origins and development of football in Staffordshire. Prior to working at MMU, Martyn spent a decade operating in the sport and leisure industry in a variety of roles including as a Sports Development Officers, PE Teacher, Football Coach and Operation Manager.

Huddersfield Town

One winner and one loser as Tom Ince looks set for Stoke City move

The winger made 33 appearances for Huddersfield Town last term, scoring two goals.

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Tom Ince
Photo: Getty Images

Huddersfield Town winger Tom Ince is seemingly set to swap the Premier League for the Championship and pen terms with Stoke City, who were relegated to the second tier last season, according to The Sun.

The son of former Manchester United legend, Paul, played 33 games in the top flight for the Terriers last season but only found the net twice in a campaign where he struggled to find his prolific best.

It was current City boss Gary Rowett who was forced to offload the flying winger from Derby County last summer and Ince’s arrival at the Bet 365 Stadium sees the pair link-up once again.

The 26-year-old is clearly rated very highly by Rowett and he represents a pretty solid replacement for the recently departed Xherdan Shaqiri who has recently joined Liverpool for a fee in the region of £13 million.

With Stoke looking to challenge for automatic promotion and an instant return to the Premier League, boss Rowett is very keen to ensure that he has the very best squad at his disposal and Ince will surely be a hit in a league that he has previously been a sensation in.

Here at The Boot Room we took a look at one winner and one loser in Tom Ince’s pending switch to Stoke City.

Winner – Gary Rowett

This deal offers a firm indication that the Stoke City boss didn’t really want to sell Ince last summer when he was in charge of Derby County and it shows that he is a big fan of the winger’s qualities.

After failing in the play-offs with the Rams last season, the highly-rated young boss will be desperately keen to start proving his worth as a manager and given the tools at his disposal at the Potters, promotion simply has to be the aim from 2018/19 for Rowett.

Having sold such an influential player in Shaqiri it was vital that the Stoke boss went and found a solid replacement. As far as Championship wingers go, they don’t come much better than Tom Ince.

Loser – Tom Ince

It has to be said that the player himself will be mightily disappointed to be dropping out of the Premier League following just one season at Huddersfield Town.

The 26-year-old will feel that his performances warranted a prolonged stay in West Yorkshire but boss David Wagner clearly shares a different tact and is happy to cash in on the player.

Ince must now get his head down and concentrate on playing football.

His ultimate motivation will be to show Wagner what he is missing out on and hope to return to the top flight by helping his new club to promotion from the Championship.

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Fulham

Ahmed Musa’s anonymous record should concern Fulham and Huddersfield

The Nigerian has just two goals for the Foxes.

Max Cohen

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Musa
Photo: Getty Images

According to a report from reputable Turkish media outlet Fotomac, Leicester City attacker Ahmed Musa is being linked with a move to either Huddersfield Town or Fulham this summer.

Although Musa stole the headlines during Nigeria’s short-lived World Cup campaign, the winger has very little to show from his time in the Premier League at the King Power Stadium.

Due to the 25-year-old’s anonymous league record with the Foxes, Fulham and Huddersfield supporters alike should be wary of their alleged links with Musa.

The Nigerian international signed for the Midlands club in the summer following their Premier League title-winning campaign, yet has failed to make an impact.

Since joining in July 2016, Musa has made just 21 Premier League appearances, scoring two goals and assisting none.

Leicester paid a then-club record fee for the Nigerian international two seasons ago, forking out over £16 million to acquire his services.

(Photo by Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images)

The Foxes would surely be looking to recoup at least half of that amount – a substantial sum for a player who is still unproven in English football.

However, Musa provided a timely reminder of his skills during Nigeria’s 2-0 win over Iceland, bagging both goals for the Super Eagles in a clinical display.

In an all-action performance, Musa first scored one of the goals of the tournament, expertly controlling a fizzed ball and then thumping the ensuing volley into the roof of the net.

His second was a mazy run, bamboozling the Icelandic defenders with his skill and quick change of direction.

There is no doubt Musa is an incredibly dangerous and skillful attacker, as he has shown on the international stage and in the Russian league.

Yet, a multi-million pound gamble represents a risk too far for Fulham and Huddersfield to take this summer, especially for a player who has yet to establish himself in the Premier League.

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Huddersfield Town

Newcastle United toxicity means Rafa Benitez should move to West Ham

The Spaniard is being linked with a move to London.

Max Cohen

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Benitez
Photo: Getty Images

After West Ham United announced David Moyes would be leaving the club this summer, Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has been heavily linked with the position by Sky Sports.

Although Benitez has worked wonders at St. James’ Park and enjoys life in the Northeast, he should make the switch to east London to finally enjoy the transfer budget he deserves.

There can be no questioning the Spaniard’s tremendous accomplishments at Newcastle. Benitez was appointed too late to save the club from relegation in 2015/16, yet achieved promotion at the first time of asking in 2016/17.

Even more impressive, the ex-Liverpool boss steered the Magpies to a tenth-placed finish this season.

The team was largely the same squad that won the Championship the previous year, and it is a testament to Benitez’s skills as a manager that he led Newcastle to the top half of the table despite minimal investment.

(Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

In particular, the manager craved a top-class goalscoring striker, yet was never given the funds to pursue a centre-forward that could effectively lead the line for the Magpies.

But it is simply unacceptable that a manager of Benitez’s quality is denied access to substantial transfer funds to strengthen his squad. In December, the Spaniard publicly aired his frustration at the uncertainty surrounding his transfer budget, due to the frugal nature of owner Mike Ashley.

There had been hopes that a takeover would occur at Newcastle, but recent reports claim that the move is off after Ashley increased his valuation of the club.

Unfortunately for Benitez, this seems to signal another offseason of limited funds and missed transfer targets. Ultimately, conditions such as these are unacceptable for a manager who has brought so much success to Newcastle.

A move to the London Stadium would allow Benitez to truly shape his squad with a generous transfer budget, a luxury that the Spaniard must be craving after several barren years under Mike Ashley.

Rafa Benitez would do well to leave behind the toxic reign of Ashley and move to West Ham, where he would be appreciated and rewarded by a supportive ownership.

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